News

subpage

Benefits of Pair Rowing

by Monica Worsley, photo by Allison Frederick | Mar 07, 2013
There are rowers lucky enough to have never flipped a shell. Chances are good that those athletes have not rowed a pair. Even the best rowers occasionally take a swim in smallest of the sweep boats. Because of its reputation for challenging rowers of all skills levels, many coaches use the pair as a training aid.
There are rowers lucky enough to have never flipped a shell.

Chances are good that those athletes have not rowed a pair. Even the best rowers occasionally take a swim in smallest of the sweep boats.

Because of its reputation for challenging rowers of all skills levels, many coaches use the pair as a training aid.
 
“I like pairs. The degree of difficulty is so high, yet the rewards are so great,” said Chris Clark, University of Wisconsin men’s head coach.

Clark and his counterpart with the Wisconsin women’s rowing team, Bebe Bryans, see the pair as a tool for improvement and, at times, a floatation device.

Based on their experience, Clark and Bryans offer advice on using pairs to develop rowers.

Q: What are the greatest training benefits of rowing in pairs?


Clark: The benefits are too numerous to list. One benefit of rowing pairs, maybe the most important, is that it can dramatically advance the skills, savvy, and overall boat maturity of any rower in a few short months. The result can be that a rower who with just a year or two of experience will show some near-elite speed that far exceeds what you would expect from what basically is a novice rower.

Bryans: Athletes learn how to row in a pair better than any other boat because it gives them a lot of feedback. Because there are only two people, they can see what impact they are having on the boat. If the stern dips into the water, the rowers can see that they are checking the boat. They can feel if they are rolling to one side, and they can tell if they are not picking it up at the catch. One of the best things I like about the pair is that it teaches them to get locked on and pick the boat up. They can’t just jam it or slam it. Rowers can’t get away with anything in the pair.

Q: What criteria do you consider when selecting partners for pairs?


Clark: The choice depends on the size and diversity of the selection pool. It also depends if you are selecting for racing or just practice.

Bryans: At Wisconsin, we let the girls pick their partners, but they have to row with at least five different partners. Because we row a pairs trial, the girls usually choose someone whom they think will make the boat move fast.

Q: When choosing pairs partners, does rowing style, strength or rowing technique factor into line ups?


Clark: All of the above. However, you are probably not expecting an Olympic gold medal boat from the first practice. Don’t be afraid to shift personnel around early and often. Many of what looked like “great” calls on my part was just dumb luck in switching and experimenting with combinations.

Bryans: I think that rowers can bring out the best in each other. They don’t necessarily need to have matched strength. One can rise to other person’s strength. I think fierceness and toughness matter. The most important thing is that both people have a similar mindset, “how to make the boat go fast” rather than just pulling hard. A lot of times, I will put people with opposite issues in the pair together with specific instructions of what to work on and drills for having them meet in the middle.

Q: Is there a minimum skill level rowers should have before they are allowed to row in a pair?


Clark: We have floats to attach to the riggers for the beginners. These are especially handy to put out nearly first day novices on the water. But if you choose to do this, bear in mind water and air temperatures and current. You should assume there will be people in the water, so do not attempt pairs rowing with relative neophytes unless you have taken into account the preceding. Also, you should always have two launches. One to maintain the practice, and one launch to help any pairs that have capsized.

Q: Would you recommend putting a rower new to the pair with someone of similar or more experience?


Bryans: I always put our experienced rowers with our new girls as much as possible, because it gives everybody a chance to learn. It helps the younger ones who might be really good learn how to row faster. Rowers can learn a lot from the boat and their partner, much more than you can learn from a coach at that point.
Advertisement
    Ref Ad 250x250
    AmazonSmile 250x250
    EMC 250x250
Sponsors
sub-row
Kinesio Logo